“This crazy fat kid” – as Senator John McCain memorably described Kim Jong Un in a recent MSNBC interview – is on the edge of another temper tantrum. North Korea is in dire shape once again, and the normal reaction of the regime is to start posturing and threatening the neighbourhood until they get a cookie. Perhaps this time we should just ignore them.
North Korea’s ability to threaten South Korea with conventional weapons is far, far less than it was even 20 years ago. Thanks to the regime’s habit of never paying its bills, China and Russia have long stopped selling them reasonably modern military equipment and the last quarter century of frequent malnutrition has seriously eroded the quality of the DRPK’s conscription cohorts.
While North Korea regularly broadcasts the Crazy Fat Kid (CFK) “offering guidance” to the military, discerning eyes notice that North Korea’s technology has barely advanced past that of the 1970s and much of their military technique would have been familiar at the battles of Stalingrad or Kursk. If the CFK unleashed his military against the forces of South Korea, they would be massacred.
Pyongyang knows their façade is getting hard to maintain – hence the concentration on weapons of mass destruction and even a new emphasis on cybernetic warfare. This last is a surprise in a country with no consumer electronics which also desperately limits the ability of its inmates to see how the rest of the world lives. Training their hackers must have been interesting…. “Squad! By the Left, Left Click! Park! Don’t look at the screen!”
North Korea could use its elderly artillery park to shower Seoul with chemical shells (much of the South Korean capital is within range of the fortified gun positions edging the DMZ). However, the potential of the DPRK’s sheaves of ballistic missiles is being rapidly diminished by the widespread deployment of anti-ballistic missiles.
This leaves one question, just how rational is the CFK? Acting out and posturing are old habits in Pyongyang. How much if it is real?
While the North Korean ideology of Juche (a “Marxism” unrecognizable to Marx and Engels) is dependent on the heroic guidance of the Kims, the Kim Dynasty hasn’t been alone. Other families usually share the reviewing stand as the people goose-step by like so many clockwork toys on high holidays in Pyongyang.
At heart, the regime is about 20 inter-related families running their enslaved state to their benefit. However, they are trapped. If the North Korean masses ever really found out how badly they’ve been defrauded for decades, the 20 families would likely be torn to bits… literally. On the other hand, if they run for it, they lose their Candy-Land Dream Park. What to do?
The temptation to stand aside and let natural justice take its inevitable and bloody course is a strong one. However, it might be best all round if the CFK and his gang understood there is a fast route out of town to a permanent exile in China… provided that they never, ever, use their nukes or chemical weapons.